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Thu, 11 Apr


Better Read Than Dead

Winnie Dunn in-conversation with Amani Haydar

Join us with Winnie Dunn to celebrate the release of Dirt Poor Islanders! Winnie will be joined by Amani Haydar.

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Winnie Dunn in-conversation with Amani Haydar
Winnie Dunn in-conversation with Amani Haydar

Time & Location

11 Apr 2024, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Better Read Than Dead, 265 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia


About The Event

A powerful, insightful and provocative debut novel that explores the challenge of finding a way to be true to yourself and your roots without ignoring where you have come from or denying where you want to go.

'Islanders must do everything together. We painted ngatu together. We crossed the ocean together. We settled on isles together. We took up Christianity together. We entered into new citizenships together. We became wage workers together. We lived with generations upon generations stacked in fibro houses together. We became half-White together. We got nits together. We sooked together. We stayed poor together. Together. Together. Together.'  

Meadow Reed used to get confused when explaining that she had grandparents from Australia, Tonga and Great Britain. She'd say she was full-White and full-Tongan, thinking that so many halves made separate wholes. Despite the Anglo-Saxon genetics that gave Meadow a narrow nose and light-brown skin, everybody who raised her was Tongan. Everybody who loved her was Tongan. This was what made her Tongan.  

Growing up in the heat-hummed streets of Mt Druitt in Western Sydney, Meadow will face palangis who think they are better than Fobs, women who fall into other women, what it means to have many mothers, a playful rain and even Pineapple Fanta.  For this half-White, half-Tongan girl, the world is bigger than the togetherness she has grown up in. 

Finding her way means pushing against the constraints of tradition, family and self until she becomes whole in her own right. Meadow is going to see that being a dirt poor Islander girl is more beautiful than she can even begin to imagine.  

Dirt Poor Islanders is a potent, mesmerising novel that opens our eyes to the brutal fractures navigated when growing up between two cultures and the importance of understanding all the many pieces of yourself.

This venue is wheelchair accessible. Please contact with any additional access requirements. 

Winnie Dunn is a writer, editor and the general manager of Sweatshop Literacy Movement. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Sydney University and was a finalist for the university's Breakthrough Alumni Award. Winnie's articles, essays, poems and short stories have appeared in Meanjin, Griffith Review, The Guardian and Sydney Review of Books. Her critically acclaimed curated works include: Sweatshop Women (Sweatshop, 2018 and 2019), Another Australia (Affirm Press, 2022) and Straight Up Islander (SBS Voices, 2021) - Australia's first collection of mainstream Pasifika-Australian stories. Winnie's writing has been assisted by the Copyright Agency and the Australia Council for the Arts. Dirt Poor Islanders is her debut work of fiction.

Amani Haydar is an award-winning artist, writer and advocate for women's health and safety based in Western Sydney. Her memoir The Mother Wound (Pan Macmillan) released 2021, explores the personal and political dimensions of abuse and inter-generational trauma and been shortlisted for the 2022 Victorian Premier's Literary Award. In 2021, Amani received the UTS Law Alumni Award and, in 2020, she was named NSW Local Woman of The Year for Bankstown in recognition of her advocacy against gender-based violence. Using visual art and writing to tell stories and activate empathy, Amani's work has been featured in several exhibitions and publications including the 2018 Archibald Prize, Sweatshop Women Volume Two, SBS Voices and ABC News Online.


  • Event + Book

    Includes a ticket and copy of Dirt Poor Islanders

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